Unit One Organizer: The Stars and Our Solar System (Approximate Time: 7 Weeks)

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1 The following instructional plan is part of a GaDOE collection of Unit Frameworks, Performance Tasks, examples of Student Work, and Teacher Commentary. Many more GaDOE approved instructional plans are available by using the Search Standards feature located on GeorgiaStandards.Org. Unit One Organizer: The Stars and Our Solar System (Approximate Time: 7 Weeks) OVERVIEW: This unit focuses on a study of stars in the universe and of our solar system. In regard to the study of stars, students observe stars in the night sky and they use various texts and media resources to learn about the physical attributes of stars. The number, colors, sizes, and positions of stars in the sky are addressed. Various constellations are identified. For the study of our solar system, planets are described according to appearance, position, and number as viewed in the night sky; then, planets and stars are compared and contrasted with each other. In addition, reference materials are used to develop models of planets according to relative size and order from the sun. Relationships involving the Earth-moon-sun are described. Models, graphic displays, and written reports are developed by students to explain Earth s day/night cycle, phases of the moon, and seasonal changes on Earth. STANDARDS ADDRESSED IN THIS UNIT Focus Standards: S4E1 Students will compare and contrast the physical attributes of stars, star patterns, and planets. a. Recognize the physical attributes of stars in the night sky such as number, size, color, and patterns. b. Compare the similarities and differences of planets to the stars in appearance, position, and number in the night sky. c. Explain why the pattern of stars in a constellation stays the same, but a planet can be seen in different locations at different times. d. Identify how technology is used to observe distant objects in the sky. S4E2 Students will model the position and motion of the earth in the solar system and will explain the role of relative position and motion in determining sequence of the phases of the moon. a. Explain the day/night cycle of the earth using a model. b. Explain the sequence of the phases of the moon. c. Demonstrate the revolution of the earth around the sun and the earth s tilt to explain the seasonal changes. d. Demonstrate the relative size and order from the sun of the planets in the solar system. April 16, 2007 Page 1 of 8

2 STANDARDS ADDRESSED IN THIS UNIT One Stop Shop For Educators Supporting Standards: S4CS4 Students will use ideas of system, model, change, and scale in exploring scientific and technological matters. a. Observe and describe how parts influence one another in things with many parts. b. Use geometric figures, number sequences, graphs, diagrams, sketches, number lines, maps, and stories to represent corresponding features of objects, events, and processes in the real world. Identify ways in which the representations do not match their original counterparts. c. Identify patterns of change in things-such as steady, repetitive, or irregular change-using records, tables, or graphs of measurements where appropriate. S4CS8 Students will understand important features of the process of scientific inquiry. a. Scientific investigations may take many different forms, including observing what things are like or what is happening somewhere, collecting specimens for analysis, and doing experiments. b. Scientists use technology to increase their power to observe things and to measure and compare things accurately. ENDURING UNDERSTANDINGS Students will understand: The patterns of stars in the sky stay the same, although they appear to move across the sky nightly, and different stars can be seen in different seasons (Project 2061, p. 63). Telescopes magnify the appearance of some distant objects in the sky, including the moon and the planets. The number of stars that can be seen through telescopes is dramatically greater than can be seen by the unaided eye (Project 2061, p. 63). Planets change their positions against the background of stars (Project 2061, p. 63). The earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun, and the moon orbits the earth (Project 2061, p. 63). Stars are like the sun, some being smaller and some larger, but so far away that they look like points of light (Project 2061, p. 63). ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS: 1. What is a star? 2. How are stars alike and different from each other? 3. How does the sun compare to other stars in the night sky? 4. How are constellations alike and different? April 16, 2007 Page 2 of 8

3 5. Why are some constellations observed during some seasons, but not during other seasons? 6. How are planets and stars alike and different in relation to appearance, position, and number in the night sky? 7. Why are planets seen in different locations in the night sky throughout the year? 8. How can technology be used to observe distant objects in the sky? 10. Why are different phases of the moon observed throughout the month? What is the sequence of those phases? 12. What are the relative sizes of the planets in our solar system? 13. What is the relative order of the planets from the sun in our solar system? MISCONCEPTIONS 1. Our solar system is an Earth-centered solar system in which the sun and planets revolve around Earth. 2. The sun moves around the Earth, i.e. it rises in the East and sets in the West, to form day and night. 3. The change of seasons occurs because the Earth revolves around the sun in an elliptical (oval-shaped) orbit. When Earth nears the sun, summer occurs; and when the Earth is farthest from the sun, winter occurs. 4. Planets and stars are alike. 5. All stars are alike. 6. The sun is the largest star in the sky. 7. Constellations move across the sky at night. 8. Earth s moon produces its own light. 9. Lunar phases are caused by Earth s shadow being cast on the moon. 10. The same stars can be seen during the entire year. 11. There are thousands of stars in our solar system. April 16, 2007 Page 3 of 8 PROPER CONCEPTIONS 1. Our solar system is a sun-centered system in which the planets, including Earth, revolve around the sun. 2. Day and night occur because the Earth rotates on its axis. Half of Earth, which faces the sun, has day; at the same time, the other half of the Earth has night. As the Earth rotates, the locations of Earth having day and night change. 3. The change of seasons is caused by the tilt of the Earth and its position in relation to the sun as the Earth orbits the sun in almost perfect circles. For example, when the northern half of the Earth tilts toward the sun, summer occurs in the northern hemisphere and winter occurs in the southern hemisphere. 4. Planets and stars are different in their appearance and motion. 5. Stars vary according to size and color. 6. The sun is a medium-sized star, but it appears larger than other stars because it is so close to Earth. 7. Changes in the locations of constellations during the night are due to the rotation of Earth on its axis. 8. Earth s moon reflects the light of the sun. 9. Different phases of the moon are observed because of the relative positions of the moon to the Earth. 10. Different stars can be seen during different seasons. 11. There is just one star in our solar system, i.e. the sun.

4 CONCEPTS: The students will know There are more stars in the sky than a person can count one-at-a-time during an entire lifetime. Some stars are bigger than other stars. The colors of stars vary according to how hot the stars are. Stars are grouped together according to patterns known as constellations. For a comparison of planets to stars in regard to appearance, both planets and stars look like points of light in the night sky, because they are so far away. When viewed through a telescope or binoculars, planets are not as bright as stars. In addition, planets appear as disks, whereas, stars look like fuzzy lights. When a comparison of the actual sizes and compositions of planets and stars is made, many differences exist. Planets are much smaller than stars. In regard to composition, planets are made of substances which reflect sunlight, whereas, stars consist of hot gases which produce light. For a comparison of planets to stars in regard to position, planets appear to change their positions in relation to the stars, whereas, stars appear to remain in fixed positions in relation to each other. For a comparison of planets to stars in regard to number, planets and stars in the night sky appear quite different; only a few planets, but many stars, can be seen. Because stars are so far away from us, changes in their positions are barely noticeable; thus, constellations appear to remain the same. Planets are closer to us than stars and the planets are in constant motion as they orbit the sun; therefore, they can be seen in different locations in the night sky in relation to the constellations. Technological resources, such as telescopes and space probes, are used to observe distant objects in the sky. The position and the motion of the Earth in relation to the sun causes night and day. Because of the moon s orbit around Earth, the moon appears to change its shape every night, but it looks the same again about every four weeks. Because the Earth is tilted on its axis as it orbits the sun, seasonal changes occur on Earth. Our solar system includes different-sized planets, which are located at different distances from the sun. April 16, 2007 Page 4 of 8

5 Students will be able to Observe and describe how parts influence one another in things with many parts. Use number sequences, graphs, diagrams, sketches, maps, and stories to represent corresponding features of objects and processes in the real world. In addition, students will be able to identify ways in which the representations do not match their original counterparts. Identify patterns of change in things-such as steady, repetitive, or irregular change-using records, tables, or graphs of measurements. Conduct scientific investigations. Use technology to increase their power to observe things and to measure and compare things accurately. Demonstrate comprehension of a variety of literary and informational texts. Produce informational writing (e. g. report, procedures, and correspondence.) Participate in student-to teacher, student-to-student, and group verbal interactions. LANGUAGE: Stars, planets, orbit, rotation, revolution, galaxy, universe, phases, satellite, moon, constellation, telescope, relative size and order, axis EVIDENCE OF LEARNING: By the conclusion of this unit, students should be able to demonstrate the following competencies: Culminating Activity: Developing Exhibits and a Demonstration for a Science Museum Exhibit Area, The Stars and Our Solar System GRASPS Goal: (a) Students will compare and contrast the physical attributes of stars, star patterns, and planets. (b) Students will model the position and motion of the Earth in the solar system and will explain the role of relative position and motion in determining sequence of the phases of the moon. Role: The curator of a science museum is requesting your help for the development of a new exhibit area, The Stars and Our Solar System. Your task is to create exhibits for the new museum area and to present a space-related demonstration to museum visitors. Audience: Science museum curator and science museum visitors April 16, 2007 Page 5 of 8

6 Scenario: Exhibits are to be developed to show the physical attributes of stars, star patterns, and planets and the relationships among them. The exhibits should consist of 3-dimensional models, sketches, and/or charts. Brief, written descriptions of the science information represented by the exhibits should be presented along with the exhibits. Specific space-related ideas to be addressed by the exhibits include: a. The number, size, color, and patterns of stars b. Comparison of planets to stars to include appearance, position, and number in the night sky c. An explanation of why the patterns of stars in a constellation appear in the same locations in the night sky, but planets can be seen in different locations at different times d. The use of technology for observing distant objects in the sky e. Day/night cycle of the Earth f. Sequences of the phases of Earth s moon g. Revolution of the Earth around the sun and the Earth s tilt to explain seasonal changes h. Relative size and order from the sun of the planets in the solar system In addition to the development of exhibits, you need to present a space-related demonstration to the museum visitors. Your demonstration may be presented in one of two ways: (a) Select one of the exhibits, show how the exhibit works, and describe the science concepts represented by the exhibit; or (b) Create a demonstration related to the science concepts of one exhibit. Rather than to use the actual exhibit, you may use whatever materials you desire to describe your selected space-related science concept. Present your information to museum visitors. Product: Development of exhibits for a museum area, The Stars and Our Solar System, and a space-related demonstration Standard: Rubric (included) checks for correct science content, attractive science exhibits, and appropriate use of language to describe information in the written descriptions and oral explanation. April 16, 2007 Page 6 of 8

7 Number of Exhibits Science Content Attractiveness of Exhibit Language Skills (punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and word usage) Science Content Oral Presentation (loud, clear, eye-contact, good expression) All exhibits were completed. GRASP Rubric: The Stars and Our Solar System Exhibits Most (between 5- Some (between A few 7) exhibits were 3-5) exhibits (between1-2) completed. were exhibits were All science All exhibits were very neat. Both art work and handwriting were attractive. The use of appropriate language skills in the written descriptions of all exhibit materials was evident. All science Excellent quality All criteria for the oral presentation were met. Most science Most exhibits were very neat. The art work and handwriting were generally attractive. The use of appropriate language skills in the written descriptions of most exhibit materials was evident. Most science High quality Most criteria for the oral presentation were met. completed. Some science Some exhibits were very neat. The art work and handwriting were generally attractive. The use of appropriate language skills in the written descriptions of some exhibit materials was evident Space-related Demonstration Some science Good quality Many of the criteria for the oral presentation were met. completed. Most science neither complete nor A few exhibits were neat, but improvement in handwriting and /or art work was needed for most exhibits. The use of appropriate language skills in the written descriptions of a few of the exhibit materials was evident Most science neither complete nor Fair quality Some of the criteria for the oral presentation were met. No exhibits were completed. Either science not provided or it was not All exhibits require improved handwriting and art work. Appropriate language skills were not evident in any of the exhibit materials Either science not provided or it was not None of the criteria for the oral presentation were met. Student Name Total Score April 16, 2007 Page 7 of 8

8 Supporting ELA standards: ELA4R1 The student demonstrates comprehension and shows evidence of a warranted and responsible explanation of a variety of literary and informational texts. ELA4W2 The student demonstrates competence in a variety of genres. b. The student produces informational writing (e.g., report, procedures, correspondence). ELA4LSV1 The student participates in student-to-teacher, student-to-student, and group verbal interactions. a. Initiates new topics in addition to responding to adult-initiated topics. b. Asks relevant questions. c. Responds to questions with appropriate information. d. Uses language cues to indicate different levels of certainty or hypothesizing (e.g., What if ; Very likely ; I m unsure whether ). e. Confirms understanding by paraphrasing the adult s directions or suggestions. f. Displays appropriate turn-taking behaviors. g. Actively solicits another person s comments or opinions. h. Offers own opinion forcefully without domineering. i. Responds appropriately to comments and questions. j. Volunteers contributions and responds when directly solicited by teacher or discussion leader. k. Gives reasons in support of opinions expressed. l. Clarifies, illustrates, or expands on a response when asked to do so; asks classmates for similar expansions. ELALSV2 The student listens to and views various forms of text and media in order to gather and share information, persuade others, and express and understand ideas. When delivering or responding to presentations, the student: a. Shapes information to achieve a particular purpose and to appeal to the interests and background knowledge of audience members. b. Uses notes, multimedia, or other memory aids to structure the presentation. c. Engages the audience with appropriate verbal cues and eye contact. d. Projects a sense of individuality and personality in selecting and organizing content and in delivery. e. Shapes content and organization according to criteria for importance and impact rather then according to availability of information in resource materials. April 16, 2007 Page 8 of 8

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